[Met Concert/Gala] CID:263000
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C Minor {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/10/1980.

(Opening Night {96}
Anthony A. Bliss, General Manager

Metropolitan Opera House
December 10, 1980
Opening Night {96}

Anthony A. Bliss, General Manager

SYMPHONY No. 2 in C MINOR, "Resurrection" {1}
G. Mahler-Klopstock/G. Mahler

Conductor...............James Levine

Judith Blegen, Soprano
Marilyn Horne, Mezzo Soprano

Metropolitan Opera Chorus
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

[Anthony A. Bliss's title was Executive Director from 8/1/1981 through 1/31/1982.]

Review of Byron Belt in the Jersey City Journal

Metropolitan Opera finally opens season

With the best wishes of the entire musical world the Metropolitan Opera finally reopened after more than two months of darkness due to labor disputes. Gustav Mahler's soaring Second Symphony - "The Resurrection," was selected by Music Director James Levine as a showcase for both the orchestra and chorus, and as a symbolic indication of faith in the future.

With the performers - including soprano Judith Blegen and mezzo Marilyn Horne - filling the stage most handsomely, the opening night was certainly very different from any other. Tonight's production of the complete three-act "Lulu" of Alban Berg will restore opera to the big house and the season holds other promising presentations, including next week's Poulenc's "Dialogues of the Carmelites" and, later, new productions of Verdi's "La Traviata" and a February triple bill of works by Satie, Poulenc and Ravel.

The best came last when David Stivender's magnificent chorus sang the moving hymn to life and hope that begins "Rise again, yea, thou shalt rise again!" Possibly to demonstrate their contention that they must memorize everything and sing in many languages the chorus sang from memory the lengthy German text provided by Mahler himself.

The quiet opening of the finale was sheer magic, possibly the most beautifully the music has been sung, and this ex-chorister sang the work with both William Steinberg and Bruno Walter. The powerful climaxes were also thrilling and the finale was clearly the finest performance of the evening.

Audience acclaim was warm, but lacking in the sort of frantic gratitude one had expected. Disputes such as those just experienced are damaging in many subtle ways. Time will heal, of course, and it is both important and wonderful to have the Met back on the road to greatness.

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